University of Oulu

David Palma, Alix Varnajot, Kari Dalen, Ilker K. Basaran, Charles Brunette, Marta Bystrowska, Anastasia D. Korablina, Robynne C. Nowicki & Thomas A. Ronge (2019) Cruising the marginal ice zone: climate change and Arctic tourism, Polar Geography, 42:4, 215-235, DOI: 10.1080/1088937X.2019.1648585

Cruising the marginal ice zone : climate change and Arctic tourism

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Author: Palma, David1; Varnajot, Alix2; Dalen, Kari3;
Organizations: 1Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, NTNU–Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
2Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Independent Researcher, Oslo, Norway
4IMO-International Maritime Law Institute, Msida, Malta
5Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
6Department of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia in Katowice, Sosnowiec, Poland
7Department of Oceanology, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
8Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
9Department of Marine Geology, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-10


The effects of climate change are leading to pronounced physical and ecological changes in the Arctic Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ). These are not only of concern for the research community but also for the tourism industry dependent on this unique marine ecosystem. Tourists increasingly become aware that the Arctic as we know it may disappear due to several environmental threats, and want to visit the region before it becomes irrevocably changed. However, ‘last-chance tourism’ in this region faces several challenges. The lack of infrastructure and appropriate search and rescue policies are examples of existing issues in such a remote location. Additionally, tourism itself may further amplify the physical and ecological changes in the Arctic region. In this article, we provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the links between the MIZ, climate change and the tourism industry. We also identify existing regulations and the need for new ones concerning operations in the MIZ and in the Arctic Ocean.

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Series: Polar geography
ISSN: 1088-937X
ISSN-E: 1939-0513
ISSN-L: 1088-937X
Volume: 42
Issue: 4
Pages: 215 - 235
DOI: 10.1080/1088937X.2019.1648585
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: The work of David Palma was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Grant Agreement No. 699924 (SINet,Software-defined Intermittent Networking). Alix Varnajot is grateful to the Academy of Finland for financial support (RELATE CoE, grant number: 272168, 307348). Charles Brunette wishes to thank the following organizations for their support: Fonds de recherche du Québec–Nature et technologies (FRQNT), Natural Science and Engineering and Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Marine14D. PALMA ET AL. Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR), and ArcTrain Canada. The work of Anastasia D. Korablina was funded by the Russian Science Foundation, project No.14-37-00038. Thomas A. Ronge acknowledges funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) SPP1158 project RO5057/1-2.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 272168
Detailed Information: 272168 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
307348 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.